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Jean Sibelius – biography Andrew Barnett
Johan Christian Julius Sibelius – ‘Janne’ to his friends – was born in the small garrison town of Hämeenlinna, north of Helsinki, on 8th December 1865, the second of three children. His father, a doctor and noted bon viveur, died when Janne was only two, leaving the family finances in a precarious state, and the family moved in with his maternal grandmother. Although the language spoken at home was Swedish…
Notes on the music
Descriptions and commentaries on individual works by Jean Sibelius.
The Sibelius Sound Michael Rohač
…How did Sibelius use the orchestra? The short answer: Very well. All joking aside, however, the question represents quite a conundrum for anyone who might attempt to answer. In isolating and describing Sibelius’s orchestration techniques, are we painting a representative picture of the Sibelius Sound≥
Sibelius Festival 2014 – indecipherable parts, long hours & 100% worth it Eva Ryan
…Every year the Sibelius Festival has a theme, and this year the theme was original versions. Sibelius was quite a perfectionist and revised most of his compositions for years and years… With the lovely theme of original versions comes completely indecipherable parts. I mean, they really did look like rough drafts…
Sibelius and the Provincial Orchestras in Finland Fabian Dahlström
…‘I’m sitting just now in Oulu and waiting to go on stage… I’ve just recently – for sordid gain – given concerts in Viipuri (2 concerts), Vaasa (2 concerts), here in Oulu probably one concert – Christmas. It hasn’t really brought in any money but I have had more practice in conducting. I ought to clear a thousand marks in the end.’…
Hans Rosbaud Peter Frankland
Hans Rosbaud’s considerable credentials as an authority on modern music ranging from the Second Viennese School through to Stockhausen and Boulez casts even Adorno into the shade. Clearly Rosbaud’s efforts played a considerable part in supporting Sibelius’s reputation in war-torn Germany and across Europe, and indeed in the reassessment of Jean Sibelius as one of the most significant composers of the early twentieth century.
Sibelius and the Piano Andrew Barnett
…for anyone who believes that Sibelius was able to write more than a dozen or so ‘greatest hits’, the piano music will offer many worthwhile, even delightful new discoveries. True, the symphonies are the mighty pines and birches of the Sibelian forest; but the piano music represents its most delicate flowers, and the ecosystem of music has ample place for both.
Sibelius – Back to Basics Andrew Barnett
…The original versions are very important indeed because they remind us that great works of art rarely just ‘happen’; they are the result of hard graft, what Sibelius himself referred to as a process of ‘smidande’, like a blacksmith ‘forging’. To see where you’re going, it helps to remember where you’re coming from – and the early versions help us to do this by shedding light on his working methods and reflecting the evolution of his state of mind…
Sibelius in Australasia Geoffrey Hayes
Jean Sibelius is a well known name to classical music lovers in Australia, although less well known than Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, or Tchaikovsky, for example. I think he’s slightly less well known than Edvard Grieg, maybe because of the historical relationship between the Australian pianist Percy Grainger and Grieg… I think that Jean Sibelius is much better known in Australia than Australia’s famous cricketer Don Bradman or composer Peter Sculthorpe would be known in Finland…
Sibelius’s Fourth Symphony in Plzeň Andrew Barnett
Imagine the scenario: take a decent orchestra that does not have a tradition of playing Sibelius; ask it to perform from scratch what is probably Sibelius’s most complex and challenging work to an audience that is equally unfamiliar with the idiom, allow just a couple of days of rehearsal time… and what will the result be?…
Sibelius and Astronomy: Cosmic Connections Douglas Whittet
At the time of his first concert as principal conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, in which he included a performance of the Fifth Symphony, Thomas Søndergård wrote that ‘For me, Sibelius’s Fifth Symphony is about achieving an over-arching sense of space and wonderment in the music.’  For many admirers of Sibelius’s works, and especially the symphonies and tone poems, the sense of space engendered by the music may well be the hook: the source of fascination that keeps one returning to these works time after time, never dimmed by repeated hearings. How is it accomplished?
Widespread they stand Peter Frankland
Few composers have identified so intimately with the Northern forests and lakes as closely as Jean Sibelius. Undoubtedly in Tapiola he reached the peak of his achievement. Peter Frankland discusses a work that has the power to shock: in a very real sense the work is not simply a portrait of those Northern forests, for it confronts fears and anxieties deep within us all.